Close to Home: Local Food in Ontario
Can you offer crisp lettuce from your greenhouse, fresh maple syrup from your woods or plump berries from your fields? These are just some of the sought-after products available at the farmers' markets and local food businesses that have popped up throughout Ontario in recent years. As your customers become more conscientious about what they eat and where it comes from, these local outlets are growing in popularity in small towns and big cities alike. Are you ready to start or expand your own local food business?
Although “local food” can mean different things to different people, in Ontario, “local” or “locally grown” generally means that the food is grown or harvested within our province or that it originates within a limited number of kilometres from where it is sold. It can also apply to food that is manufactured, processed, produced or packaged close to where the products are sold.
If starting or expanding your local food business in Ontario appeals to you, take advantage of the valuable resources, support services and networking opportunities offered through organizations like Local Food Plus and Homegrown Ontario. You can also contact the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for information about the local food industry, or seek funding and support that might be available through initiatives like the Ontario Farmers' Market Strategy.
As a business owner, you are legally responsible for following provincial and federal regulations and for obtaining any required licenses or permits. Additional labelling requirements may also apply if you intend to produce foods items using an “organic” or “local food” label. Use our Permits and licences search tool to find out more. Bon appétit!
To learn more about the local food movement in Canada, you can also read our blog post: How close are you to your food?